Business Development

Libraries are an important resource for small businesses

The availability of vast new online business information resources through public libraries is a vital resource for new entrepreneurs. Whether providing information on regulations associated with incorporating a new business, assisting with business plan development and registration, or helping small businesses access critical information on finance and product databases, local libraries are now providing more business resource information than ever before. In larger communities, with multiple small business support agencies, public libraries are identifying and filling gaps in the formal and informal support networks and are offering specialized services to specific populations or sectors. In smaller communities, libraries are a principal source of information to area micro-, small, and mid-sized businesses. While major corporations will frequently have ready access to information from online sources, small business operators are learning to turn to the library. The potential for public libraries to strengthen economic growth and resilience in the micro- and small business sectors is significant. Just as new research shows that students who do not have access to online research cannot compete with students who do, small businesses that do not have the ability to adapt and reposition their businesses with current and detailed online information are at a serious disadvantage in the competitive, global new economy (p. 20).

Library partnerships have value

Because community engagement has value, involvement of library volunteers from the communities includes benefits for volunteers in terms of enhancing their confidence, skills and levels of employability.

Libraries have value to neighborhoods

People prefer to live near a public library if they have a choice, and often perceive library access as part of an enhanced quality of life, although it is rarely a direct factor in home purchase decision making.

Proximity to the library has value

Users who stop at the library while completing a longer list of errands report "halo" spending at firms and establishments close to the library. Although this spending is not part of an economic impact statement of Minnesota's public libraries, it is also true that proximity to a library increases spending for those businesses located near the library.

Public Libraries Create Jobs

The public libraries of MN create jobs: Capital Expenditures: The impact of jobs (the employment measure) associated with public library capital expenditures delivers an estimated total impact of 528 jobs to the State, including the 327 jobs directly related to library capital expenditures, as well as 201 additional (induced and indirect effect) jobs dependent on the libraries' capital expenditures in the state. Operations: The impact of jobs (the employment measure) associated with public library operations delivers an estimated total impact of 3,674 jobs to the State, including the 2,470 jobs directly related to library operations, as well as 1,204 additional (induced and indirect effect) jobs dependent on the libraries' operations in the State.

Nearby businesses benefit from their proximity to a library

Looking specifically at purchasing by library customers, more than half of the visitors to the library spend $5 or less on a typical visit, with most of these expenditures at restaurants, coffee or food shops, as well as pharmacies and the post office... Using the most conservative estimate from our survey, this spending data translates into a weighted average of visitors spending $7.05 on a typical visit to the library. A more like estimate is that visitors spend $9.54 per visit. Given these ranges and the number of visits generated by the library, these customers spend a total of $9.8 million to $15.6 million annually at nearby businesses. (p.8)

Economic Vitality Brought with Seattle Central Library

The Library is associated with $16 million in net new spending in Seattle in its first year of operations--equal to $80 million for 5 years, $160 million for 10 years, or $320 million over a 20-year period. Nearby businesses report increases in spending associated with visitors to the Central Library. Increases in the use of Library resources contributes to learning, literacy, business productivity, personal and professional developments, and individual livelihood.

Expanding Identity of Seattle Central Library to Tourists

More than 2.3 million tourists are expected to visit the Central Library during its first year of operation, an increase of more than 250% compared to the prior year. Approximately 30% of these visitors--725,000 individuals--are projected to be out-of-town visitors, coming from the Puget Sound region, other states, or other countries. The Library is drawing greater numbers of visitors from a larger radius; these increases in activity drive the economic benefits the Library brings to Seattle. A 1% increase in annual visitors to King County creates $1 billion in new spending statewide over a 25 year period.

The extent taxpayers in South Carolina feel the public library contributes to their economic well-being

Among the findings are indications that the public library: - 49% of business users indicated that they obtained most of the business/research information from their public library - 78% of business users indicated that information obtained from the public library contributed to the success of their business - 59% of personal investors said they obtained the information needed for making investment decisions from their public library - 48% said "definitely" the investment information at the public library had contributed to their financial well-being and 34% said "somewhat"

Businesses couldn't have done it without the library

8% of survey respondents report that they could not have started, grown or improved their business without the Free Library, resulting in an estimated 8,630 businesses that benefited from Free Library business development services. (p.5)


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